RE-THINKING RETAIL SPACES?

If spaces can be purposefully designed, they can assist in the prevention, containment, and treatment of infectious disease, including COVID-19. 

  • Evaluate new safety and sanitation protocols as spatial challenges.

    • New and evolving operational protocols must balance the tension between keeping staff, customers, and communities safe, while also facilitating a business model that is already operating on thin margins. 

    • Retailers are well equipped to manage surface contagion and containment protocols. Current regulation guidelines are thorough, yet new operational requirements present significant spatial barriers to ideal implementation. 

    • Retailers should continue to monitor guides and recommendations from the WHO, DoH, SAcoronavirus.co.za and others, recognising that solutions are often spatial in nature. 

  • Examine the spaces of your retail store with flexible reconfiguration in mind.

    • Clearly identify exchange zone to mark the transition form public to private spaces. 

    • Develop spatial literacy and introduce additional controls. 

    • Ensure that sanitation control within the existing space are monitored.

  • Understand that the 1-2m social distancing rule solution inside retail stores. 

    • It is important to sequence spaces to limit droplet spread. As The transmission of the respiratory infections from the infected to the susceptible is an indoor phenomenon. 

    • The requirement for customers to stay 1-2m apart in an existing retail settings, in many cases, will reduce the number of customers by 50%-70% depending on the space. 

    • A finer grain analysis of different types of store configurations can help to develop creative solutions to the 1-2m rule while still mitigating contagion.

  • Design for trust and examine retail store with flexible reconfiguration in mind. 

    • Compliance with rapidly-evolving evidence about COVID-19 transmission must be made visible and legible, both from the retail employees and from customers, as this provide trust in monitored compliance. 

    • Install sanitation station for guests to use upon entering the exchange zone. 

    • Reconfiguration of display shelving for better circulation and display. 

    • Designate a counter space in the exchange zone for preparing, packaging, and organising orders, in order to minimise contact between the employees and the customer. 

    • Install durable clear dividers at tellers as extra protection between employees and customers.  

    • Post visible safety standards and protocols for both guests and employees. 

    • Provide space for employees to change clothes and don and doff PPE in a space separated from front of house. 

    • Technology, consider automation and eCommerce.